Nick Richardson outside the Vermont Land Trust's head office in Montpelier. Richardson takes over as the trust's new president in December.

Richardson takes up reins at Vermont Land Trust

MONTPELIER — For 40 years, the Vermont Land Trust has been singularly focused on protecting the state’s farm and forestland, helping to preserve nearly 2,000 parcels of property and 700,000 acres. Starting next month, the Vermont Land Trust will entrust its mission to Nick Richardson, who replaces Gil Livingston as president of the 3,000-member organization. It shouldn’t take the 39-year-old Richardson long to get up to speed on his new job. For the past five years, he was the Land Trust’s vice president of finance and enterprise. Don’t look for Richardson to shake up the organization.

Red B Fencing lines the race courses at the 2016 Women's World Ski Cup at Killington Resort.

World Cup race helps Killington boost safety gear

KILLINGTON — With an expected draw of more than 30,000 spectators to the area over the course of the two-day event, Killington Ski Resort and the surrounding area prepare to host the Audi FIS Women’s Ski World Cup races that will be held Thanksgiving weekend: Friday, Nov. 24, to Sun., Nov. 26. “The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and Killington Resort submitted a proposal to the FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) two years ago at the FIS Congress to host this event,” said Kristel Fillmore, communications, public relations and social media manager for the resort. “The FIS officially awarded Killington the event in the spring of 2016 at the FIS Conference in Cancun, Mexico.”
Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Ski Resort, has said the race raises the profile of skiing in the Northeast and at Killington.

Photo courtesy of Efficiency Vermont
Christa Alexander at Jericho Settlers Farm in Jericho.

Farm grows year-round with efficiency help

Fifteen years ago, Christa Alexander and Mark Fasching started selling extra produce from their prolific vegetable garden. They invested in some chickens, then some livestock, some more land, and before they knew it were farming full-time. Fast forward to today. Jericho Settlers Farm is a thriving diversified, organic farm with a large number of wholesale clients as well as CSA, farmers market offerings and a farm stand. And now, by pairing onsite solar power and biomass heating with energy efficiency, the farm has managed to extend its growing season almost to year-round.


Cabot Creamery’s Amy Levine named 2017 B Corp champion

CABOT — Amy Levine, director of marketing at Cabot Creamery Co-operative, was named a 2017 B Corp Champion at the annual International B Corp Retreat in Toronto. Certified B Corporations are committed to rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency, according to a news release. In 2016, Levine spearheaded a steering committee with other certified B Corp businesses, all volunteering time and resources to develop a campaign to improve consumer awareness of what B Corp certification means. The campaign, which launches in 2018, aims to make people aware of the many B Corps all around them, including companies in consumer goods, retail and services.  

Josh Squier, co-owner of Breezy Meadow Orchard and Nursery in Tinmouth, stands next to a 4 kilowatt photovoltaic array that was destroyed by the wind storm last week.

State assessing storm’s damage to Vermont farms

MONTPELIER — Vermont farms this week continued efforts to recover from the monster wind storm that left nearly one out of three Vermonters without power last week. State officials said they’ve yet to calculate the full extent of the damage from the Oct. 29 storm, or its impact on Vermont agriculture and maple sugar production. “Certainly, it was a doozy (of a storm) — no doubt about it,” said Anson Tebbetts, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in Montpelier. “One plus is it was warm enough to deal with.”
Tebbetts said about three dozen farms last week reported damage to buildings and equipment or crippling power outages, and “we know there are many more.”
“We have a tremendous amount of farmers that are using generators to power their farms and feed their (livestock),” he said.


Shannon Vera to manage regional Help at Home program

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Shannon Vera has been named regional manager for Help at Home, Visiting Nurse for Vermont and New Hampshire’s private-duty service. Vera has over six years of experience in business development and marketing for long-term-care rehabilitation facilities and hospice agencies. “I am very excited to be a part of the Help at Home team,” said Vera. “It is an honor to work with a company that provides such individualized care and outstanding support to people in the community.”

She will be responsible for staff management and operations, including fiscal management, talent acquisition and performance management, marketing and business development. She will oversee quality and the appropriateness of services, and ensure regulatory compliance and client excellence.


Peterson joins tax practice at new Montpelier office

MONTPELIER — Mary N. Peterson, former commissioner of the Vermont Department of Taxes, has joined the tax practice group of Rath, Young and Pignatelli’s Montpelier office. Her practice will focus on state and local tax, energy and other regulated industries, administrative practice and public policy. Peterson has experience in state and local matters, as well as utility regulation, commercial contracts, lender liability, bankruptcy and securities. She will be working out of the new Montpelier office at 26 State St., Suite 9.  



Greek entrepreneur Stathis Stasinopoulos is pictured with a cargo bike in front of the old town hall in Bremen, Germany. In July, Stasinopoulos took his family, and dream of a self-made business and moved them from Athens to bicycle-friendly Bremen, a city in northwest Germany.
Martin Meissner / AP PHOTO

Greece finally growing, but taxes crush startups

The Associated Press
ATHENS, Greece — If Greek business needed a role model, Stathis Stasinopoulos would make an ideal candidate. An athlete, engineer and entrepreneur, he invented an easy-folding bicycle design and began building them himself and created a small company. The project was shortlisted for a national startup award in 2014 and, the following year, he peddled onto the stage to applause to give a motivational speech. Today, he has some advice for young Greeks with a good idea: “Get your passport and leave.”
In July, Stasinopoulos took his family and dream of a self-made business and moved them from Athens to bicycle-friendly Bremen, a city in northwest Germany. Years of effort had been crushed by high taxes and outdated bureaucracy.

Freelancers, small businesses struggle to get paid

The Associated Press
NEW YORK — For many freelancers and owners of small businesses, signing up clients and completing projects is just one part of the work. Trying to get paid can be almost as time-consuming. Sandy Sloane needed 11 months of persistence before one client paid in full for her publicity and event-planning work. The client was having cash flow problems, but said he was paying other vendors. He put off paying Sloane although their $4,000 contract stipulated he would pay within 30 days.

Roger Pion, Donna Pion and Luke Persons have researched and built a machine to produce biochar, a carbon soil builder that reduces the need for chemical fertilizers in agriculture.

Farmers exploring ‘super soil’ as alternative to chemicals

BARTON — As any successful farmer or gardener knows, trying to plant in soil starved of nutrients and moisture almost guarantees failure. Working with soil treated with carbon “biochar,” however, is like working with dirt on natural steroids. Biochar is a powerful soil-builder that improves soil fertility and water retention. It reduces the need for chemicals and fertilizers and holds onto nutrients and water like a paper towel. Even better, biochar persists in the soil for hundreds of years, proving its value as a “sustainable” resource in food production.